Quit Smoking Quietly: Experienced Millennials Explain

A new term has recently flooded the air: quitting smoking quietly. Nearly a quarter, 21% of American workers say they are quiet quitters themselves, according to an August 2022 ResumeBuilder.com survey of 1,000 workers.

A passing TikTok user zaidleppelin started the conversation with a video he posted on July 25. “I recently heard of this term called ‘silent shutdown’ where you don’t quit your job outright, but you give up on the idea of ​​going beyond it,” he says in the video, which has racked up 3.4 million views as of the publication of this article.

With so many people weighing in, the term has since evolved to include a broader set of definitions.

“To me, quitting quietly is just about setting your limits on what your results are going to look like in your work,” Amanda Henry, who has made a series of videos on the subject on his TikToktells CNBC Make It.

“For some, that might just mean doing the bare minimum because that’s all they have to give at the moment for various reasons. For others, that might just mean not burning out.”

These kinds of attitudes aren’t new: As comedian Josh Gondelman wrote on Twitter, the idea of ​​”sending it in the mail” has a “rich, storied history.”

Yet recent hype around the term has sparked heated discussion about what setting boundaries at work can look like. Here are three millennials who have gone through a process of silent abandonment and a look at those who might be left out.

“I’m not going to overwork myself anymore”

Daniella Flores, who uses the pronouns they/them, was working in IT at a financial company in June 2021 when they decided to quit quietly. Eventually, they quit their jobs altogether.

“A lot of people who work in technology and IT have this problem where it’s really rare at the beginning of your career to work 40 hours a week,” says the 32-year-old based in Port Orchard, Washington. At the time, they worked between 50 and 60 hours a week.

At some point, they realized that the extra time they were spending picking up last-minute tickets and undertaking work beyond the scope of their job title wasn’t worth it. When they mentioned wanting a change in title and pay, they say their boss turned them down.

That’s when something clicked. “I’m not going to overwork myself anymore,” says Flores, they decided. They changed teams and told their new boss that they were blocking time in their calendars to focus on their assigned work and avoid having unnecessary meetings. This reduced their hours to between 40 and 45 per week.

Danielle Flores.

Courtesy of Daniella Flores

Flores officially quit his job with the company in June this year to run his hustle-focused blog I like to splash around full time and undertake other creative endeavors.

“Our institutions must take this into account,” they say. “Why are we just calling to do your job?” »

Stopping quietly is “a survival tactic”

Maggie Perkins.

Courtesy of Maggie Perkins

Eventually, she found ways to set boundaries even during the school day. When her school couldn’t find a substitute to replace another teacher, for example, and she was asked to fill in for an hour otherwise allocated to grading homework and preparing for lessons, she when even used the time to do just that. She would tell the students she was replacing, “Here is the job you will do and here is the job I will do”.

Like Flores, Perkins quit altogether in 2020 to pursue her doctorate in language and literacy. Teacher advocate, she made a series of TikTok videos on silent abandonment, including one with advice for them, such as not bringing work home and not spending your salary on your class.

For her, quitting quietly is “a survival tactic,” she says. “It’s a coping mechanism. It’s just bringing more life to a career that I love and miss.”

“Quitting quietly is a self-care tactic”

For Clayton Farrisa 41-year-old freelance writer and content creator based in Los Angeles, quitting smoking quietly is more about mental change than any specific change in his schedule or boundaries with an employer.

“Quietly quitting is allowing yourself to put something else before work without feeling bad about it,” he says.

It’s a change he started making during the pandemic when he constantly worried about whether or not his customers were happy and where his next job would come from. Although he usually works about 30 hours a week, with all the anxiety associated with the work even when he wasn’t actively engaged in it, “I felt like I was working 50 hours,” he says.

Clayton Farris.

Courtesy of Clayton Farris

Having adopted the latter attitude, however, “every time I send an e-mail and expect a response”, he says, “I literally shut down my computer and go to the beach”. Worrying about an answer won’t make it come any faster, he says, he’s figured that out.

“Quitting quietly is a self-care tactic,” he says. It’s about mentally disengaging from his professional life when he’s not really doing his job.

For some, the boundaries are “a little harder to navigate”

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